1. Carrie – Based on the great Stephen King novel, this terrifying little gem from the 1970s is as potent today as it was when it was first released. Director Brian De Palma served us a spectacular vision of the popular Stephen King novel about the shy girl with the obsessed religious mother getting even after enduring years of torment from her high school peers and classmates. Sissy Spacek is wonderful in one of her first roles. She doesn’t play Carrie too subtly or underscored. She is the spitting image of the character in the novel. Plus, there is such special appearances from John Travolta that seem to stand out even if is in the film for no more than 10 minutes.
2. Child’s Play – You’ve seen Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, but this is wear it all began. Witness serial killer Charles Lee Ray’s original transformation into the infamous killer doll known only as Chucky. For even more fun, try to watch the film as if you don’t already know the story. Play dumb, so to speak, and leave yourself open to the surprise that this little “Good Guy Doll” is actually a mass-murdering psychopath.
3. Christine – The Stephen King novel about the killer car is brought to life with the fury of John Carpenter’s horror expertise and the story could never look more real. It’s chilling, it’s fun, and Christine is one beautiful ride. I don’t think it’s the scariest or most effective Stephen King novel or adaptation, but it’s certainly a classic horror film that should not be overlooked.
4. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride – It’s not what most people might classify as a “Halloween movie”. But, when you have bone-chilling creatures, like the singing and dancing skeletons, you’ve got something more. Not only can this movie be enjoyed by adults but it can also be great fun for the kids. Corpse Bride isn’t too scary or too silly. Johnny Depp is great as purely the voice of the lead character. In the vane of Nightmare Before Christmas, I actually prefer this one.
5. The Craft – The story of four rejects – four high school girls looking to fit in somewhere, and finding out there’s more to the world than mother nature intended is great Halloween treat. It’s not too scary. It’s not your typical teen horror film. There’s no masked maniac stalking these girls, it’s the girls themselves that you should be afraid of. The Craft takes the legend of witches and witchcraft into the modern world, transforming it into something more pure but still just as frightening.
6. Creepshow, Creepshow 2 – Featuring a series of bone-chilling tales of murder, people coming back to life, bugs, monsters and more, you can’t find a more frightening pair of movies. You might recognize Ed Harris in one of these tales. You might find yourself curling up into a ball of fright during a single 30 minute short. Then, again – as wild as it may sound, you might be cheering for the big, wooden statue of an Indian chief. There are a couple of these tales that are laughable, they are so marred by redundance and trite, but they still feel like they belong. Stephen King helped write these tales with Night of The Living Dead creator, George A Romero.
7. Cujo – Speaking of King, here is another chilling adaptation of the great author’s famous novel. Starring Dee Wallace, best known as the Mom in ET, Cujo gives us a disgruntled family brought back together by hellish circumstances. Bitten by a diseased bat, a beautiful St. Bernard starts losing his mind. He finally starts killing people left and right, but the film really starts when Cujo meets Wallace in his yard where he holds her and her son hostage. It’s a basic concept, but it sure is effective. You just have to look past the fact that it’s 20 years old.
8. Cursed – Laid out by Scream creators, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson, this fun, contemporary tale of The Wolf Man or werewolf is one you should definitely check out this Halloween. It’s not great. I don’t even consider it to be written as well as the Scream trilogy, but I’m certainly a fan. Werewolves have been created through makeup and digital effects over the years. Cursed is cursed with similar effects, but it’s the joy of watching Teen Wolf meets The Howling that is actually the most fun about this movie.
9. Dawn of The Dead (2004) – As far as their creature effects go, I actually prefer this version of the famous tale of the dead coming back to life, and killing anything and everything around for food than the George A Romero classic. This film move just a little too fast for that gut-wrenching feeling of the original to take effect. You never get the feeling that everything is lost, the world has been completely overrun by zombies. The group of characters hiding out inside of a mall are hard to care about. Each of them show how little they respect themselves or the rest of the world. But, it’s all still great Halloween fun. It’s gory, it’s scary and it’s intense. So, I figure I should definitely recommend it.
10. Dawn of The Dead (1979) – I know it may seem strange, endorsing two versions of the same story, the original and its remake, but they’re both equally impressive – just in different areas. Here, George A. Romero created a story about a small group of people taking up residence inside a shopping mall as a follow up to his legendary, Night of The Living Dead. In this sequel/ remake, the world is being overrun by zombies. It’s terrifying, it’s gruesome, and it’s utterly gut-wrenching. But, you can’t help but look at the makeup effects and make fun. They’re dated. You can’t hold such a small detail like that against such a great classic film like Dawn of The Dead.